to want to accept amazing job opportunity without being judged for "deserting"; my three children.

(558 Posts)
Shreddiez Wed 30-Apr-14 09:32:19

I have three children aged 8, 5 and 1. I have always worked a 3 or 4 day week since having them. DH works full time and travels quite a bit. We have no family help but we do have a live-in nanny.

I have been offered an amazing job. An opportunity like this will never come-up again: fascinating work, good money, chance to make a real difference.

The new job would mean a lot of travel and when home I'd hardly see the kids Mon-Thurs, by hardly I mean maybe 20 mins in the morn. But I'd usually be home all day Fridays and I would get nine whole weeks leave a year that I could take over school holidays.

I intend to accept the job but am shocked by people's reactions. A friend referred to me deserting my kids, my MiL (who NEVER helps with the kids) keeps making veiled references to how sad it all is, even the nanny keeps joking how the one year old will think she is the mother.

Is it normal to suffer such passive aggression for wanting to work? Is it so bad to be out of the house 4 days out of 7 if you know you can be fully present and involved for the other three days? Doesn't nine weeks leave actual mean I will see the kids as much as someone who works three days if averaged over a year? And why do I have to justify this? Why can't people celebrate my efforts to do well at work and at motherhood? I feel so judged and its making me second guess myself and my choices.

Callaird Sun 04-May-14 23:23:57

Captain I was making the point that the two boys I looked after who lost their mum had grown up in to healthy happy young men who have a stable family life of their own.

I was their primary carer, I started work before they woke up and finished after they went to bed most nights (their dad started a new business just before and had to put in long hours to make it work (and possibly to forget that he had lost the love of his life)) I saw them 7 days a week, although I only worked 5, they eldest was just two and for obvious reasons, he couldn't cope with people disappearing for long stretches of time. I left after 4 years because their father met and married again. Growing up they were normal children despite all the shit the poor sods had to deal with in their young life.

In summary, children are adaptable, as long as they are loved and cared for, they really don't care who does it. They know who their parents are and in the end they know that everything their parents did was for their children to have the best that they could offer.

Quality over quantity all the way! If a parent has their children day in, day out, there will be times when they don't have the best day, something breaks down, they need to get the housework done, the children are bored as the parent is busy doing other stuff. Working mothers can sort the break down from work, generally have cleaners who iron and can spend their time off doing fun things with the children. Yes things can break down during the weekend but then there are generally two parents around to spend quality time with the children.

I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way, just a way that works for you as a family.

JadedAngel Sat 03-May-14 16:01:59

I work full-time too (am still bloody working now on an enormous report for the EU!), but I am self-employed so there's an element of flexibility that means I can sometimes attend a PTA meeting at 3.15 on a Wednesday say. A lot of full-time employed parents just wouldn't have that option.

I don't think volunteering or being an active player in the running of the school makes you a better parent, but I can see that having a parent (or two) who are engaged with school life in some way (even if it's just attending sports days, school plays and helping with homework, arranging for your children to have friends round occasionally after school) can be very helpful emotionally and socially for children, giving them a secure home/school relationship and a window for any challenges to be more easily addressed.

RhondaJean Sat 03-May-14 14:50:00

I was treasurer of the PTA while working full time at my children's previous school. I don't directly volunteer at the school regularly now but I usually man stalls for fetes, send baking and bottles, etc. I'm also on Thr committee of the out of school club which is entirely independent from the school but works very closely with it. I would join the fundraising group but their meetings clash with a previous and long standing commitment of mine.

Does any of that make me a better parent to my daughters though? I don't think so personally.

scottishmummy Sat 03-May-14 12:45:46

I do my bit by turning up,paying for superfluous items at fayre,buying cake etc
School need money,fayre raises money
I dont volunteer.as i work ft so its not feasible.don't have the time or inclination

JadedAngel Sat 03-May-14 10:50:00

Totally agree it's a mindset thing janey. There's a real mix of parents supporting our village school in different ways. It wouldn't function otherwise. I do what I can around work - PTA, a bit of PR and event organising for fundraising etc. It's the same for most parents here. Some run after-school clubs such as running club or marine-conservation. Others help in the classroom or sit on the board of governors. Some just bake delicious cakes for fundraising and make awesome play costumes. All of value. All much needed. I can't see how you would criticise that.

But I have also once witnessed the 'bored-mum-on-a-power-trip' stereotype alluded to upthread too. Not here in this part of the country, but in a town in the south east (not London) where it was all a bit Stepford-y.

Everyone has different motivations for involvement I guess.

janey68 Sat 03-May-14 10:29:08

Surely the suggestion that no parents should be allowed to volunteer or attend school events is a joke?!!

As a WOHP I have taken time off (as has DH) to attend really special events but you just accept that you're not going to be there for every single occasion. Some primary schools have weekly assemblies to which parents are invited, which is overkill IMO but tbh my children wouldn't have wanted me there all the time.

As for volunteering in the classroom- not my bag, but I can see that it must be hugely helpful to schools and for the children who need extra support. Does make me cross though that the funding isn't there to pay professionals to do it.

I did a long stint on the PTA and dh was a governor while the children were at primary, and of course we supported any fundraising projects... Being supportive comes in all forms and IME as I said unthread, while my children were in a village school, it tended to be WOHP who were the movers and shakers. Slightly off topic but a lot of the villagers who were proactive in the community tended to be incomers who'd moved to the area for work. Obviously there were exceptions, but I do think its a bit of a myth that its only people who have masses of time on their hands who are able to support in the community. I think it's more a mindset thing. If you are a proactive person who wants to get stuck in, you'll find the time and energy to do so, whereas if you're not, you could have all the time in the world but will always expect that famous "someone else" to do it.
Equally, being a supportive and involved parent is a mindset, and to do with personal values; it's certainly not to do with whether you work or not.

TheWordFactory Sat 03-May-14 09:56:17

I'm a working mum and I always volunteer because my work is flexible. I even volunterred for years at a school where my DC didn't attend because none of the parents there would, irrespective of their working lives.

stealthsquiggle Sat 03-May-14 00:25:35

As a WOHM I too am eternally grateful to the SAHMs. To give that some context, it is an independent school, so less volunteering involved, but there have been several occasions when I couldn't be there , nor DH, or the GPs, and it was OK for my DC because "X's mum" was watching for me, and told me, in front of the DC, how well they had done. It is a measure of the niceness of DD's best friend's mother that she also told me how her DD wanted me as a Mummy (because I bake and make stuff). That sort of comment makes me feel immeasurably better when DD wishes I could be more like friend's mother who is "always there". The grass is always greener, and all that.

The SAHMs who invite my DC for playdates with full knowledge that we probably can't reciprocate also earn my undying gratitude and any time I can help, with lifts to parties and the like, I will.

Much of this is, however, irrelevant to the OP, given that they have a FT nanny.

mimishimmi Sat 03-May-14 00:10:18

I'm a wahm and I never volunteer at the schools. I don't resent those who do though. That's a bit odd. Parents aren't allowed on school grounds during school hours anyway unless they are helping with reading groups. I haven't seen any overkeen sahm's either if I think about it.

Goldmandra Sat 03-May-14 00:01:08

So I do think that it would be much fairer if all parents are banned from volunteering.

That's just charming.

You have every right to make the decisions which bring the advantages you value to your family. Other people have other priorities which include being involved with their children's education and offering some of their time to support your children's school as a whole.

However, you feel so uncomfortable about the impact that your choices have on your children that you would like to extend that impact to everyone else's children too, just to make yours feel better.

Some of us prioritise being there for our children at the expense of income. My children miss out on things we can't afford because I don't work at the moment. Are you prepared to deny yours the same things to make mine feel better?

PinkBolly Fri 02-May-14 21:01:02

Ouch.

Kewcumber Fri 02-May-14 18:50:03

LoveJill - I'm a working single parent who also volunteers at school - 30 mins of reading a week and I try to do at least 1 school trip a year.

Would I be allowed?

Of course the trade off is that I'm earning about half what I could be but (to a degree) that's my choice.

I should add that at our school they have a policy of volunteers not reading with their own children so the only children who "benefit" from me volunteering are the group of 6 I read with routinely. Not sure what's to be gained by banning me?

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 18:27:55

Lovejill IMO,it's about being adept at explaining mum works,and how important that is
My weans know I can't attend nursery/school.thats the way it is
They're not disadvantaged,and in fact the advantage to family are significant

gilliangoof Fri 02-May-14 18:23:36

I'm at home rather than my OH as I can take a career break and return to my previous job and he cannot. Our DCs have not started school yet and we are still debating whether we will still prefer to have a SAHP when they do for after school, school holidays, when they are sick etc. If we do decide to have a SAHP in the long term it will be him. So whilst it is currently me as I can take a break and return to work easily it will be him who actually gives up his career if we go down the permanent SAH route.

Retropear Fri 02-May-14 18:09:57

Volunteers(often sahp)at our school fund raise(often in school time),run swimming,ferry to trips to reduce costs, hear readers,do menial jobs,do cooking,help with art projects......

But hey let's scrap all that,it upsets a couple of children.hmm

scottishmummy Fri 02-May-14 18:07:59

I work ft,don't attend trips,etc.thats how it goes.ive no desire to limit others volunteering
No one has it all,and inherent in ft work is inability to always be available.im realistic
But I trade that off,as I'm vocationally satisfied,solvent and happy to work ft

susannahmoodie Fri 02-May-14 18:06:08

Gilliangoof, sorry if this is too personal a question, but if you sah-Ing reduces household income by 70% why didn't your oh sah rather than you?

I often get exasperated by the default position of female sahs regardless of who is actually best placed to do so. My dh is far better at changing nappies, feeding the children than I am, in spite of having a penis.

Of course, there may be good reasons for your set up.

Thetallesttower Fri 02-May-14 17:57:22

LoveJill is that a joke?

I woh and quite often can't make stuff, but am eternally grateful to the parents that do go along and volunteer. Not all parents can go every time, but if everyone looks out for each other's children, as I do when I attended an event recently and had four children's artwork to admire, this is surely better than a ban?

I'm still thinking you are joking.

Shakshuka Fri 02-May-14 17:56:28

I'm a working mum and very grateful to the parents who have the time and willingness to come in and volunteer - all the kids benefit. Of course my kids would love me to come in more but they also understand that I work and that there are benefits to that.

OP, coming in late but take the job! The responsibility for childcare is one of the last bastions of sexism. When we moved to the US from the UK, I had to come two months ahead of the family. I was sick to the back teeth of the number of times I was told that my dh was 'amazing' or how lucky I was that he was prepared to look after the children. We made a decision as to what was best for us as a family unit and this was part of it. He's a great Dad and husband but if it had been him going for two months and me staying behind with the kids, no one would have praised me to the skies.

It sounds like you've got a very sweet deal that'd be crazy to turn down.

gilliangoof Fri 02-May-14 17:54:56

I stay at home, thereby reducing the family income by about 70%, in order to benefit my DCs. I cannot believe someone who is getting paid to work would suggest I should not be allowed to attend sports days etc because they cannot.

Retropear Fri 02-May-14 17:46:21

Ah didums so children that could do with a bit of extra support should miss out because your kids gets upset.hmm

Kids with 2 working families often go on nice holidays,my kids are often coming hone saying so and so are off to Disney.

Such is life.There are benefits from having a sahp and benefits from having 2x wp,kids have to suck it up.

LoveJillbooks Fri 02-May-14 17:19:33

I do recognise SAHP spending quite a bit time volunteering at primary schools. I think this shouldn't be allowed. It disadvantages children of working parents. My DC have asked me why I couldn't come to Sports Days, Harvest Day, help in school garden, help with all kind of other stuff. Simple, I have a senior position, manage a large team, so am very limited in taking time off. This is difficult for young children to understand though. So I do think that it would be much fairer if all parents are banned from volunteering.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 02-May-14 15:26:36

MN is an interesting microcosm of RL, and the domain of arguments and language

In that you might think whatever you are saying is 1000% comprehensible and clear, but people can completely misinterpret, and oftentimes take offence!

c'est la vie

amanda I did get a bit frustarted, but its really not worth the effort explaining why. always interesting to see perceptions though

anyway, not had a AIBU spat for ages. I cant say I enjoyed it! a bit like binge drinking, best avoided at my age

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 02-May-14 15:19:35

of course i have an opinion, and I hope I have expressed it without insulting the OP

anyway, you have made me feel negative. a complete stranger, well done!!! BRAVO. hope you feel good now . thats what you wanted right? to make a stranger feel shitty???

Amandaclarke Fri 02-May-14 15:18:33

fromparis - my take was that you were the only one swearing and saying there was SAHM bashing (there is clearly not - just observations of life) and then you put a dragon emoticon which is clearly a bit inflammatory - it's you that looks like you want a ruck

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